With the green movement well under way, natural products are very popular these days. Many people are choosing natural alternatives for many things, and this has led to an increased interest in natural stains. One particularly attractive option are natural stains made from walnuts. Making these stains is easy enough that just about anyone with the right materials can do it. Woodworkers in particular may enjoy making dyes for home made carpentry projects.
Dye Making Process
- Latex gloves
- 15 walnuts inside their husks
- Stainless steel or enamel ware pot
- Large plastic or metal spoon
- Large Jar
- Put on your latex gloves. Protecting the skin on your hands is important because walnut husks can dye your hands a dark brown color for days or even weeks after this process is finished.
- Remove the husks from the walnuts. This can be done fairly easily with your bare hands. Alternatively, you can also remove the husks by crushing the walnuts on a firm surface like a tree stump. Be aware that anything you crush the walnut husks on will be dyed a dark brown, and could potentially be scraped or nicked in the process, so avoid doing this on furniture or other surfaces that you wish to protect.
- Place the husks inside the stainless steel pot.
- Fill the pot with 1 gallon of water.
- Place the pot on the stove and bring it to a rolling boil.
- Stir the water in the pot carefully as it boils.
- Allow the water to boil for approximately one hour, remembering to stir occasionally.
- Take the pot off the heat and allow the stained water to cool down slightly.
- Separate the husks from the dyed water, using a strainer.
- Drain the dyed water into a large jar and allow it to cool down completely. Your wood stain is now ready to use.
Dye Making Process (Alternative Method)
This alternative method takes much longer but requires no heat from the stove.
- 15 Walnuts in their husks
- Latex gloves
- Large jar
- Stainless steel bowl
- Put on your latex gloves.
- Remove the walnut husks from the walnuts. Place the walnut husks in a large jar.
- Fill the jar with a gallon of water.
- Seal the jar. Leave it to sit for two days.
- Strain the walnut husks from the stained water into a stainless steel bowl.
These resources and online tutorials will give you more information about the dye-making process.
- DIY Network: This isn’t really a tutorial, but it does include some useful information and a nice picture.
- Nature Hacks: The Nature Hacks website talks about making a variety of natural stains and dyes from products like tobacco, nails, roofing tar (and of course walnuts).
- Practical Primitive: This tutorial features step-by-step instructions and pictures as well.
As well you may find this tutorial video particularly helpful:
Whatever method you choose, we hope you enjoy making walnut stain! If you choose to make your own stain and have pictures of the process, we’d love to see them. Stop in at any Ace Paint and Unfinished Furniture to show us. If you’re feeling a little less adventurous and don’t want to make your own stain, stop in at any one of our stores and pick up some of our commercially-made stains, which will help you to achieve a similar look in your finished product.